On hearing the door open, Milly looked across and saw young Josephine had returned. Gently she stroked the Doctor’s back, and bent her head down, whispering words to him quietly, before drawing away from him. She was the maid after all, not a proper member of the family. She picked up the letter that was on the ground, and then, handed it to Josephine, before leaving the room. Out in the hallway, Milly stopped the Detective, and looked at him with red rimmed eyes.
“Mrs Bianchi is dead, Sir.”
Reginald just stood there, shocked. He thought she had gone away, taken a trip, a flight of fancy. Not this. He raised his head slightly, and pursed his lips, as the maid said.
“Miss Josephine is in there. Maybe she be better at comfort, why don’t you come and get some tea, while they talk.” The detective’s shoulders sagged, and he followed the maid to the kitchen, not prying into the Doctor’s office. Josephine had a way with words and he knew she was far better at speaking to Johnathon now, than anyone.
Back in the office, Johnathon had stopped his crying, though his eyes were red and his cheeks stained with tears. He could hear Josephine ask if everyting was alright. Johnathon’s forehead creased, and his voice was so soft. Like he was afraid if he said it loud enough, that he would hear it himself, and know it was true.
“I…got a letter….and…she’s dead.” The words all put together like that, didn’t sound right, and he shook his head, and then looked up at Josephine and said again. “My wife’s dead.” He could feel his mouth go dry, like he couldn’t swallow. Racked with guilt, shamed. “I didn’t love her enough…and now she’s dead. What kind of man….am I? How could I have not seen the signs? I’m a doctor…I treat people, I am supposed to be able to cure their ills. And I failed the one woman I loved.”
He got up off the chair and then wiped his hand across his desk, sending the other letters, his brandy glass and other files, his lamp, everything crashing to the floor. Johnathon was broken, and now losing his mind. The guilt was overwhelming.
“WHY…WHY…WHY IS SHE DEAD?!” he cried, staring at Josephine, wanting someone to explain it to him, so he could get his mind around it.
Josephine took the letter from Milly, concern for the doctor written all over her face. As she unfolded the letter carefully, she read the contents thoroughly before her eyes lifted back to Johnathon. Folding the letter in her hands, she kept her eyes locked on the doctor as she stepped towards him. She began to glow with her healing aura as was habit, but she did not dare touch the doctor again. The half-angel had the ability to wipe away pain, mend a broken heart with a touch that would erase all memories of what pained the poor being. However, she held too much respect for the doctor and knew that broken hearts helped shape people, and if anyone could come back from this stronger, it was Johnathon Bianchi. Jo tilted her head slightly as she looked at Johnathon with sorrow. She longed to pull him into her arms and caress his hair, offering words of comfort as she took his pain away. It pained her to see him like this, but she knew he had to grieve. Standing back, her hands folded in front of her as she watched him send everything flying off his desk. She winced but that was the only movement she made as she watched him. Tears ran down her cheeks as she witnessed his pain but she did nothing to remove them.
As he turned to throw that question at her, Josephine had to swallow hard as she stepped just a tad closer. “Oh Johnathon…”In the privacy of his grief and pain, she spoke to him with his first name as though she were speaking to a lover or close friend.“You loved her enough…Truly you did, or else she would not have taken the time to write to you, or to the children. It is clear she will always love you.” As she stepped forward to close the gap between them, she raised her fingers to caress his face but stopped herself. They were only inches apart as she dropped her hand to her side and looked at him with such love and tenderness that her blue eyes shone like the ocean. “You of all people know that somethings plague the mind and heart that are sometimes just to great for those to manage in this world. Understand now that she is in a place where she will find peace…and she will forever love you and your children. There is nothing that you could have done better. Saffron chose this for herself. She chose to find an ends to her own means.” Desperation racked her voice as she leaned into him “Understand that you are a great man. Please…you must understand. This world is lucky to have a talented doctor like you to cure them.” Looking at the floor, she whispered “And I am so lucky to have a friend as compassionate as you.” It was silent for a moment before she brought her eyes up to look at him again. “You know I can take this all away if you ask, but I will never act without permission.” To prove her point, her healing aura calmed down and she seemed to glow less. Now should they touch, she wouldn’t force her healing onto him.
The Doctor’s shoulders were heaving up and down, and while Josephine wanted so much to comfort Johnathon, at this point he was simply inconsolable. When he raised his head up to Jo, as she spoke to him, he started to shake his head. He felt like no one could possibly understand the pain he felt, the sheer frustration, and the unending feeling of guilt.
“I want to know why…I want to know why Saffron’s life is over. *he sobs, his eyes filled with tears.* I don’t understand. I was supposed to go first, I was always ready to go first. Will my children ever know how truly wonderful their mother was? What she did for them? OH GOD I WANT TO KNOW WHY?”
Out in the foyer, Cookie had come out of the kitchen, her face etched in sadness, as there was a knock at the door. Milly was in the kitchen comforting Reginald who was sipping his tea. With no one else to answer the door, Cookie plodded over and opened it, only to see Mrs Peabody standing at the door.
“I need treatment, show me into the Doctor’s room at once.” Mrs Peabody said, charging into the foyer, like a woman possessed. Cookie shrieked and lifted her skirts, trying to stop the crazy client of Doctor Bianchi. This was the last thing he needed right now. In the midst of his breakdown, that horrid woman wanted her treatment.
In the office, Johnathon was going around in circles, as Mrs Peabody and Cookie entered the room.
“I’m just so mad…I just want to hit somebody, to make them feel as bad as I do right now. I want to hit something! I want to hit it HARD!” Johnathon cried, raising his fists. Cookie had seen enough, and grabbed Mrs Peabody from behind, who was confused as what she had just walked into.
“HERE…HIT THIS!…Go ahead Doctor Bianchi….Knock her lights out!”
“Are you crazy?”
“Never been more sure of anything before. GO ON, HIT HER!…HIT HER HARD!…Then you can tell everyone, you slapped Mrs Peabody, for wanting constant hysteria treatments…..GO ON SLAP HER!”
“ARRRCH….let me go, you crazy Cook.”
“Mrs Peabody…this is a chance to do something for your fellow man. Go on John…Knock her lights out!”
“Let go of me!” Mrs Peabody screamed, as the Doctor watched the scene unfolding, and found himself chucking. Cookie smiled and thrust Mrs Peabody forward again, hoping he would slap her. “You are missing the opportunity of a life time, Doctor Bianchi…..half of London would want to do this!” You could hear laughter coming from out in the hall, and it was the entire household staff.
Mrs Peabody yanked herself free from Cookie’s grip, and shouted at her;
“You are a pig from hell, Cookie.”
“No…just a naughty angel. Now get out.” Cookie swatted Mrs Peabody’s backside and gave the Doctor a nod, before going back to the kitchen, where a few of the staff congratulated her for using Mrs Peabody, to calm Johnathon. Mrs Peabody growled and fled the room, full of shame, as the Doctor finally found the reason to smile again.
Josephine watched him quietly, stepping back as he began to shout. Clearly her words were not enough, and he would only find comfort with the house staff who were closer to him. She remained silent, watching the maid rush in with the ridiculous Ms. Peabody. It was very hard not to roll her eyes but somehow she managed to keep out of it. Walking away from Johnathon, she stared distractedly at the paintings on the wall. It seemed Cookie was the only one who could comfort the doctor now. Silently, she reveled in the fact that she had got the part she wanted in the ballet. It was obvious that now was not the time to break out the news, but she was still pleased with her small triumph nonetheless. It hurt that she couldn’t share it with her father or the good doctor who had both promised to be there, but still, she said nothing. Johnathon had bigger worries than a silly ballet. As she turned to look at him, he smiled and it was enough to keep the tears from flowing again. Regardless if he was looking at her or not, she smiled tenderly before turning back to look at the portraits.
Out in the hall, the laughter of Milly from seeing Mrs Peabody flee the manor, was truly worth it. Doctor Bianchi had put up with her non stop visits for so long, and to come in demanding treatment the day he found out his wife was dead, was simply unacceptable. For all the sadness and the grief, Cookie had done what no one else could. Found a way to make Johnathon smile. It wasn’t a big cheesy grin, but it was a glimmer of the life spark, returning to the Doctor.
In his office, he now was bending over, picking up the items that he had wiped off his desk in a fit of blinded rage and sorrow. To watch him, as he painstakingly picked up each piece, broken of not and set it back on the desk, he did so with care. The words that Saffron had written, in what would have been her final hours, finally touched his heart. Grief is not a simple emotion, but it is the start of a wave of many. There is a process to losing someone that we have to go through, in order to reach acceptance of our loss. Though Johnathon was an angel, he still knew human emotions, and displayed them like everyone else.
A broken tea cup clinked in its saucer as Johnathon pushed himself up off the floor, and placed down the letters that were addressed to his children. Now was not the time for them to be read, as Levi was at the ball, and Gen already knew. Dealing with it in her own way. Johnathon raked his finger back through his greying hair, and sighed, seeing Josephine had been there the whole time. I felt terrible that he had let himself lose it so badly in front of her, when all she wanted to do was help. Little did she know, he needed her. Though blinded by the earlier rant, she had offered her gift, to take the pain away. Johnathon had suffered enough, but needed to go on. He had patients, he had cases and he had his children, as well as his friends. His life should not end, because Saffron’s did.
Coming out from behind the desk, he approached Josephine, his eyes finding hers, and he asked;
“Take it away…please.”
He reached for her hand, and moved to place it to his chest. Johnathon tilted his head, and hoped she would do what she offered.